Big plans for the region’s transport future: make sure you have your say

While negotiations on climate action continue at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Cambridgeshire residents can use their voices to call for planet-friendly transport in our region. November is a busy month for consultations with a range of different local authorities wanting to hear your views. Here’s a summary of the ways you can get involved (more guidance will be coming soon):

1) The Big Picture: what should transport look like in future?  

Name of consultation: Local Transport and Connectivity Plan
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/TransportPlan2021)

From: Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority
Time to complete:
Around 10 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents)
Format: Online survey OR download, complete and send the paper feedback form.
Deadline: Sunday 28 November

READ CAMCYCLE’S RESPONSE GUIDE TO THIS CONSULTATION

Cover of the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan brochure

The Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) is the Combined Authority’s long-term strategy to improve transport in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough. This survey is a ‘public consultation exercise’ to help shape the new plan; a formal consultation on the final proposed document will follow in January 2022.

The Combined Authority says that: “The region’s transport system affects people’s quality of life and life chances, our environment and our economy. It brings our communities closer together, supports business and connects people to education, retail, leisure and work. It is therefore essential we have a plan in place to make our transport better, faster, safer and more reliable. It must help address the big issues like climate change, inequality, and public health.” The Mayor says he wants a high-quality transport system which reflects his core values of compassion, cooperation and community. He thinks it should be “greener, fairer, safer and supportive of better health for everyone”. Connectivity is an addition to the plan, reflecting the way that the internet and the Covid-19 pandemic have changed the way we shop, work and travel: improving digital connectivity across the region could lead to fewer journeys.

Completing the survey:
You need to read the proposed vision, aims and objectives for the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan: do you agree with them and do you have anything to add? Next, you can select the most important transport issues for your area of Cambridgeshire (or all six districts, if you wish). There is an ‘Other’ box where you can add your own issue. Finally, you can rank the list of transport benefits given – e.g. physical health, better places to live – in order of importance to you.

 

2) A growing city: where and how should new development happen?  

Name of consultation: Greater Cambridge Local Plan – First Proposals
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/LocalPlan2021)From: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning (Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council)
Time to complete:
From a few minutes (for a single comment) to a few hours. This is a big document!
Format: Complete the quick questionnaire (anonymous) or give more detailed feedback online (log in required) using the comment boxes on each section of the plan. A downloadable Word document is provided to help you prepare your responses. Comments via email or post are possible, but not encouraged.
Deadline: 5pm, Monday 13 December

Cover of the Local Plan First Proposals consultation documentThe Local Plan is a legal document that councils are required to prepare, setting out land use and planning policies up until 2041. It looks at the number of new homes and jobs that should be planned for, the services and infrastructure needed to support this change and which areas to prioritise for new development. Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council are working together for the first time and are consulting on their ‘First Proposals’ for the Greater Cambridge area, following the ‘First Conversation’ on themes and challenges for the plan in early 2020.

The councils say: “We want Greater Cambridge to be a place where a big decrease in our climate impacts comes with a big increase in the quality of everyday life for all our communities. New development must minimise carbon emissions and reliance on the private car; create thriving neighbourhoods with the variety of jobs and homes we need; increase nature, wildlife and green spaces; and safeguard our unique heritage and landscapes.

“In our First Proposals we have suggested 19 new sites that we think might be suitable for additional development to meet our needs up to 2041. These proposed sites have no planning status yet, and will not have any status until the new Plan is adopted, which may not be until 2024 or 2025. You can tell us whether you think they are the right sites, as part of our First Proposals consultation.”

While the vision sounds ambitious, it’s worth noting that a big decrease in climate impacts is enough of an existing challenge without the high levels of growth planned for our region. Transport emissions in Cambridgeshire are much higher than the UK average: there is a lot to do in the coming years to address this.

Submitting comments:
The quick questionnaire asks one question about the overall vision, two questions about types of housing and then several questions about what houses, jobs, facilities or open spaces you think would be required at a selection of the main sites proposed for development.

Detailed comments can be given on the vision, the proposed sites for development and the proposed policies, organised by theme and topic. Policy I/ST: Sustainable transport and connectivity and Policy I/EV: Parking and electric vehicles (which includes cycle parking) are key subtopics for active travel. The Infrastructure Topic Paper gives more information about how the policies fit in with local and national strategies.

 

3) In and around Cambridge: less traffic, more sustainable options

Name of consultation: Making Connections
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/GreenerTravel2021)

From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership
Time to complete:
Around 30 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents if you want more information than that given in the survey)
Format: Online survey (with options to call 01223 699906 or email your response to consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk)
Deadline: Midday, Wednesday 22 December

READ CAMCYCLE’S RESPONSE GUIDE TO THIS CONSULTATION

Cover of the GCP Making Connections consultation brochureMaking Connections is the next consultation on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s City Access project, following on from the Choices for Better Journeys consultation in 2019. The GCP wants to hear people’s views on ways to reduce traffic to free up more space for sustainable transport and to fund a much improved bus service with more frequent, lower-cost bus journeys.

The GCP says: “Our area is facing many pressures over the coming years and we need to reduce traffic levels by 10-15% on 2011 levels. We need a better public transport system to ensure that most people have a quicker, more convenient and reliable journey than by car. We need to make more efficient use of road space and significantly increase the number of sustainable public transport vehicles on our network, as well as creating better environments for people to cycle, walk or just spend time enjoying our public spaces.”

In his foreword, the Mayor adds: “I believe that people-friendly and climate-friendly public transport linked to a strong walking and cycling network is the future.” However, Camcycle is concerned that this consultation focuses almost exclusively on buses and road/parking charging and does not set out a vision for how these plans will integrate with the growing active travel network. We’ll be providing more guidance next week on how to respond to this consultation.

Completing the survey:
It is possible to complete the survey without reading any of the accompanying documentation as the relevant information has been included with each question, although further information can be found in the consultation brochure. Some questions are focused around your current and future travel choices, while some ask your views on the proposals laid out.

 

4) Newmarket Road: what needs to change?

Name of consultation: Cambridge Eastern Access – Newmarket Road improvements
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/EasternAccess2021)

From: The Greater Cambridge Partnership
Time to complete:
5-10 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents)
Format: Online survey (with options to call 01223 699906 or email your response to consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk)
Deadline: Midday, Wednesday 22 December

Cover of GCP Eastern Access consultation brochureThe ‘Eastern Access Better Public Transport and Active Travel’ project is one of the schemes the Greater Cambridge Partnership is working on to improve transport and reduce congestion in and around Cambridge. The first phase of the scheme is focusing on proposals for Newmarket Road – reallocating roadspace to bus and cycleways, improving the dangerous junctions at Elizabeth Way and Barnwell Road and relocating the existing Park & Ride. 

The GCP says: “Good access to Cambridge from the east is important to the city’s success. However, the current levels of congestion and air pollution across east Cambridge make walking, cycling and using public transport increasingly challenging.” The proposals laid out in its consultation brochure could be delivered by 2025 (apart from the P&R move, which would be part of the longer term plans). Long-term proposals also include an off-road busway and upgrade of the single-track railway line to Newmarket.

Completing the survey:
After a couple of questions on your current travel in the area, the survey goes straight on to ask your views on the proposals for Newmarket Road. All the Newmarket Road options include protected cycleways on both sides for the full length of the road. Two options are offered for each of the major junctions: (1) a roundabout with some improvement over the current situation, or (2) a CYCLOPS-style traffic signal junction design, similar to the one recently installed at Histon Road. In both cases, the roundabout option appears to be far worse in terms of space and delay for people cycling and walking. Therefore we prefer option E2 for the Elizabeth Way junction and option B2 for the Barnwell Road junction, which are the CYCLOPS-style junction options. There are also three options given for the relocation of the Park & Ride, some of which may have an impact on the High Ditch Road junction of the A1303 (Newmarket Road). National Cycle Route 51 runs along the northern side of the A1303 here, and it is important that the cycle route is protected and improved in any design that is chosen here.

 

5) Better cycling and walking in Soham

Name of consultation: Soham Active Travel
(shortlink: tinyurl.com/Soham2021)

From: Cambridgeshire County Council
Time to complete:
5-10 minutes (plus time to read the associated documents)
Format: Online survey (a paper alternative can be picked up from the Town Council offices on Fountain Lane or by calling the County Council on 0345 045 5212)
Deadline: Tuesday 17 January, 2022

Cambridgeshire County Council has put forward some ideas for changes to the roads in Soham as part of its plans to improve walking and cycling across the county. Soham’s new rail station is due to open in December: concerns about additional traffic, road usage or connections between sustainable transport modes can be shared as part of this consultation.

Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, Councillor Peter McDonald said: “We want to encourage Soham residents to make walking or cycling their first choice, especially for shorter journeys around the town, and are asking local people for their feedback on some proposals which would offer more space for pedestrians or people on bikes. We need your input on the ideas put forward in the consultation to ensure that if we do make any road changes these are the right ones for the Soham community and will work alongside changes in traffic levels once the new rail station opens.”
Map of suggested street changes in Soham
Completing the survey:
Details of the changes are given on a map of Soham: the survey asks how far you support the principle of making changes to benefit active travel and the proposed changes for each street listed in the scheme. You can also submit additional comments.